City with a Brain
In northern Portugal, the tech startup Living PlanIt has begun building the city of the future. Their goal is to create a working model for sustainable urban environments. This model would then be a template for emerging metropolises in countries like China & India. It would also be applied to update existing cities from around the world.
“PlanIt Valley,” the first in a new generation of intelligent cities, will feature 4,000 acres of the most innovative technologies. Like Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, PlanIt Valley will produce it’s own renewable energy via wind and solar & treat it’s own water. However, Living PlanIt is teaming up with Cisco to create a centralized computer to act as the cities brain along with sensors to act as an artificial nervous system. This approach is unprecedented. Each building will have sensors to monitor occupancy and temperature, along with energy, water and waste. For example if a building’s water tanks are low, its sensors would alert the cities central computer which would then move water from a building which has an excess water supply. Much of the water will be re-used. The central park will feature a lagoon with reeds and bamboo to filter waste water. Green roofs would collect and filter rainwater. Some of the reusable water would be suitable for flushing toilets and irrigation. Furthermore, when these plants reach maturity they would then be used as biofuels. Another interesting tidbit is that hot air produced from the data centers would be used to heat buildings and ice produced on sunnier days would be stored to provide chilled water for A.C.
Sounds pretty good, eh? Well you can’t move in just yet! The tech companies workers will be the first inhabitants, but the completion date is ambitiously set for 2015.